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General News of Thursday, 31 October 2019


There is no 'free lunch' in party primaries - Kyei Mensah Bonsu

Minister for Parliamentary Affairs and Member of Parliament for Suame constituency, Hon. Osei Kyei Mensah Bonsu, has decried the act of monetization in the country's politics, descrIbing it as alarming.

Speaking on Okay Fm's Ade Akye Abia Programme, the Majority Leader noted that people who come to spend money during the party's primaries do not do it for free, "they are using it to influence delegates which hitherto would have voted for a more competent person to lead them in parliament".

According to him, in as much as parliament needs numbers to legislate laws, the house needs experienced and competent people who will bring their expertise to bear on issues that will benefit the people who voted for them.

"It is about time various political parties address this issue because there is no free lunch anywhere in the world. As a country, we may not see its rippling effect now but its consequences will be dire and may affect the socio-economic development of the country," he added.

Members of Parliament (MPs) on Monday debated passionately about the issue of vote-buying at parliamentary primaries and elections at the national level.

This was after the National Democratic Congress (NDC) MP for Kumbungu, Ras Mubarak, raised the issue in a statement made on the floor of Parliament.

According to the MP, who lost the parliamentary primary in his constituency in the Northern Region, there should be ‘fast-tracked’ legislation by Parliament to outlaw all forms of inducement that would have a direct effect on voting in any elections.

He said the issue of the offering of gifts should also be put in the right perspective because the Internal Revenue Act 529 stipulates that Ghanaians are to pay 15 percent gift tax on any gift valued at GH¢50 or above.

“How many of us can hold our heads up and say we have complied with this provision in the Act or how many of our constituents who have received bicycles, motorbikes, mobile phones, television sets, clothes, gas cylinders, and other items can say they have to pay the necessary taxes on such gifts?” he queried.